CT (computed tomography) scans and PET (positron emission tomography) scans are two of the most common radiological imaging procedures in use today, but they are very different procedures. The following list explores the differences between CT scans and PET scans, providing the most important information you need to know about these procedures.
Differences in CT and PET Testing
- CT scans are completed in approximately 5 minutes; PET scans may last up to 35 minutes for the test itself, plus the time it takes to prepare.
- CT scans use X-rays, while PET’s use positrons, which are radioactive tracers
- CT results are two dimensional (2D), while PET results are three dimensional (3D).
- CTs are non-invasive, while PETs require the positrons to be injected.
- CT scans provide clear images of bones and can detect abnormalities in soft tissues; PET scans provide images of biological processes within the body. Think of it as CT scans show the structures, while PET scans show how the organs and tissues within the structures work.
- On average, CT scans can cost anywhere from $1,200 – $3,200, while PET scans generally start at $3,000. Your insurance may cover your CT or PET scan completely, cover a portion of it, or leave you responsible for full payment.
CT and PET Scan Similarities and Uses
Both procedures are typically performed as outpatient procedures, meaning no hospital stay is required. Imaging from CT and PET scans are often used alongside other procedures like X-rays or MRI in order to maximize diagnostic and treatment potential.
CT scans are used to take pictures of internal organs, bones, soft tissue, and blood vessels. They may be ordered for acute injuries and conditions or for chronic vascular conditions. They are also an invaluable tool in determining the exact size and location of tumors and guiding procedures to treat tumors.
Because PET scans are able to detect chemical activity within your cells, they are useful in diagnosing cancer. Doctors may order a PET scan to develop a proper treatment plan for heart disease, as they are able to show vascular issues that cause decreased blood flow to the heart. PET scans are often used to detect brain disorders including seizures and Alzheimer’s disease as well as brain tumors.
At Independent Imaging, we offer CT scans and combined PET/CTs on site. Independent Imaging Medical Director Roger Ramos, MD is well versed in all varieties of imaging. Having graduated from Harvard Medical School and completed a residency in diagnostic radiology, his expertise when it comes to CT and other imaging is second to none.
Let Dr. Ramos’s experience with imaging procedures be of service to you today. Call us at (561) 795-5558 for more information. To make an appointment, please call or use our request an appointment tool.